Originally Posted by GetGray
EDIT: After posting the glowing endorsement that follows, I ran into a huge bug with DVD playback. See details here:
Too bad. So close.
I've been working out my configuration customizations and preferences over on the Dune thread. My goal was to be HTPC-like or have the K flavor on-screen interface, and give the Dune a fair re-try since I tried it about a year ago. I've watched 2 complete movies now, an mkv and a iso. (and "played in"/tested a lot of others) Both played flawlessly, auto-switched frame rates. Full BRD menu support, started and stopped flawlessly, skipped some trailers I didn't strip on purpose, etc. Execution had no issues so far. It powers up in seconds, goes straight to my main My Movies screen where I can pick categories. I have it integrated with my URC control system. Some issues there, but they were URC's not Dune's. Little IR programming and hex extraction and I took care of them myself.
I took the time to manually go through my MyMovies collection and categorize everything into what I call watched states. I have a few e.g. not watched - old, Not watched- new, classic, keep, pending delete, kids only, etc. Completely customizable however you like. The categories are auto-updating on the Dune. I set them up on my desktop PC, and they just flow over. I added a leftover laptop hard drive to the H1 internally to speed it up vs getting its index from the server. That used to be an ordeal, not now. Screen navigation is just as fast as my HTPC was controlling via remote. The buttons do what they are supposed to. Pop-up menu gives the pop-up menu, not a shell out to a 3rd party piece of software where with 3-5 clicks and navigation I could tell TMT5 to go to the disc's Pop-up menu. I have put the wireless keyboard mouse in a drawer where it ought to be because I didn't have to have it to wrestle the HTPC anymore. I have added movies via Drop and Rip, the Dune's indexes were auto-updated without issue. I have the selection screens set up with a nice 5x11 cover layout that maximizes cover art, preserves the aspect for BRD and DVD. Going into and out of a metadata screen is faster on the Dune (surprise to me).
I played with the iPad app but not much yet. It is supposed act as a full remote if you prefer an iPad. Pick the movie on the iPad and press play. Fringe benefit, but I'm not using it, preferring at least a companion wand remote, but that's a different subject.
Compared to the HTPC, I have no frame rate hoops to jump through, no geek ware to master to get the frame rates right, no sign of duplicated frames, no clumsy windows video drivers to screw with, no 3rd parts player issues, no pop-ups, no lockups, no KB and mouse required in my theater. Source direct, no, but it's better than the HTPC it appears.
"Nothing but pros" you say, so am I Dune cheerleader? Hardly. Well I haven't been before now, but I might become one
. So what AM *I* missing? Not much. The biggest things are you cannot do that I used some are interactive things via the interface, like tag a movie watched or change a category from the Dune Interface. It's static from a direct interface. But doing those interactive things on the HTPC (except for watched/unwatched) required a wireless mouse/kb in a dark theater, which I didn't do anyway. I HATED having to pick it up. As for the watched flag auto-setting, I liked it but it had it's own issues. Mainly that it set when you went into a movie, not out of one. So if you started a movie it set. It should have been labeled the "started watching" flag. So if you started a movie and didn't finish you had to go to the watched group to find it and finish later. Or reset the flag. Additionally, I don't have as many choices on the Dune for cover art/selection screens, not a huge deal. And then there's.... wait.... nothing else that bothers me. The pros (lots) are far outweighing the (barely any) cons for me.
A slight change in workflow on categorizing movies as I add them, and a little maintenance and I don't have my MIL calling me because she and the kids have the HTPC hosed requiring a reboot walk through while I'm at dinner, CEDIA, vacation, etc? Worthy.
Guys, this has SO much been a better experience than when I tried it last. I'm signing up to be a dealer. I can sell this and not have to worry about the nightmare of HTPC support. At least on the client side. These are no brainier My Movie clients. Unless it starts barfing on movies, this is it. One could buy a hundred of them for the cost of a K system that will hold what mine will. Is it the same?, no but at 5 digits less expensive it's just fine for me. Better than just fine. You guys who know me know I'm picky. So far I'm really liking it. Family with 2 AV literate teens and wife have given thumbs up, too. It doesn't even have to be visible in my rack, but I'm so tickled it's working so well (so far) that I'll have to get a custom rack shelf for it. Although at its teeny size it may look funny
Thanks Lon for the feedback that gave me the impetus to retry. Thanks to the guys who hang out at the Dune thread who gave a LOT of help on the interface customization. Dune's firmware improvements appear to have made it stable, and the MM integrations have finished it off. Anyone want one setup like mine and need a dealer, let me know.
And, I think I'm about to have a nice HTPC that needs a home
. Hopefully my playback experiences will continue to be as good as they have been and what others report.